Until recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized users of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to place identification numbers in enclosed compartments located on the aircraft (for instance, in the battery compartment). A new rule, 14 CFR Section 48.205(c), issued by the FAA now requires this number to be placed on the aircraft exterior.

Effective Feb. 25, 2019, any drone operator in the United States is required to display its FAA-provided unique identifier on the outside of the UAV.

This new rule applies to businesses and hobbyists, including individuals, firms, partnerships, corporations, companies, associations, and government entities, who operate drones in the U.S. that weigh between .55 pounds and 55 pounds. The rule doesn’t specify where the number should be placed, but only that it “can be seen upon visual inspection of the aircraft’s exterior.”

The reasoning behind the FAA’s decision is grounded in safety. Under the prior rule, the FAA was concerned that a drone could be rigged to secretly contain a bomb inside the battery compartment. The FAA believes that requiring a drone to be readily identifiable by an exterior identifier will mitigate this or any other such risk.